The City of Waco has its very own Hispanic museum.
For years, Museum Chairman Luis Garcia says it was almost impossible to find even a hint of Latino history here. It’s history he wants to discover, preserve and share for generations to come.
“We look in the books and history books, and there is not much to be able to say we even existed here,” Garcia says.
Garcia was born and raised in Central Texas. His life-long mission is telling the stories about Waco’s Hispanic community.
“I want to take the time and write it all down, but that’s going to take time. And that’s what needs to be done,” Garcia says.
The Waco Hispanic Museum opened its doors in 2016. Locals donated items from Latinos who settled in Central Texas many decades ago.
“The Hispanics owned this territory back in the days when Mexico owned the territory in the 1700’s, 1800’s. People like La Vega School, Sanchez, Martinez. They owned all the property in Waco along the Brazos,” Garcia explains.
Today, artifacts line the shelves and photos document families working on cotton farms. The vibrant mariachi jackets and pants fill what were once empty walls – all unraveling stories of Waco’s past.
“As they say, a photograph speaks a thousand words. We still have a lot of photographs we need to identify and put names and numbers with. And so, I think that would tell the story more than anything, and a few articles we have collected,” Garcia says.
Garcia is proud to know he’s one of the first to document this history.
“With all of the hard work that I’ve done and all of the people that I talked to, it’s very important,” Garcia explains.
But Garcia’s work isn’t done – he’s on a mission to uncover more Latino history.
“I think everybody has a story to tell. And I think it’s important to tell those stories, hope for somebody else,” Garcia says.